Sending an individual to prison is designed to rehabilitate them, to help them realise the error of their ways and to set them back on the straight and narrow, as well as act as a punishment. This is especially important with child offenders. However, the latest release of the prisoner reoffending statistics from the Ministry of Justice, suggests that amongst the UK’s children prisoners, not all are learning their lesson. The stats released within the quarterly bulletin in January 2017 have revealed that the amount of reoffending juveniles has seen an increase of over 4% since 2004.
According to the most recent UK Prison population statistics released by the House of Commons, the prison population in the UK was just over 84,300 as of December 2016, a decrease of 0.8% from a year prior. Of this, roughly 22,000 were aged 21 or under, 26.6% of the overall population of UK prisons.
The publication of the reoffending stats covered all reoffenders of all ages between March 2004 and January 2015. It found a 4.3% rise in reoffenders under the age of 18, from 33.6% to 37.9%. In particular, male offenders increased by 3.1% to 40.3%, and female offenders increased by 4.5% to 27.6%.
As the graph below shows, the size of the cohort has decreased quite dramatically over the span of the data, yet the rate of reoffending has increased slightly, which could be a cause for concern for the Ministry of Justice.
The stats also showed a quite dramatic increase in the amount of 10-14 year olds that had reoffended, a 7.3% rise since 2004. There was also a rise of 2.8% of 15-17 year old reoffenders.
The biggest statistic rise came in the form of crime types within reoffending juveniles. The proportion of theft reoffenders had risen by 11.6%, and there were also small rises in criminal damage and arson, drug offences, possession of weapons and public order offences.
There was also a slight increase of juveniles reoffending after 1 or 2 previous offences, of just over 2%.
The biggest spike of reoffending in juveniles came between April 2013 and March 2014, where after a period of relative balance, the offending rate increased by almost 2% in one year alone.
There were some welcome statistics on the other hand. The amount of juveniles reoffending after 2 or more custodial sentences has decreased by over 11%. Moreover, sexual crimes by juveniles has seen a 5.3% decrease since 2004 and while over 11 years the rate of reoffending has grown, the past year has seen a slight decrease of 0.1%.
Overall, despite the numbers of juvenile offenders in the UK decreasing slightly over the past year, recent trends have projected that overall not all of Britain’s youngsters are seeing the error of their way.